DR. TNA: They’re Heeerrrre – On Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy & Immortal

When last I wrote a DR. TNA column: Abyss was an outcast; Jeff Hardy was loved by nearly all TNA fans; Dixie Carter, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan were working together; and Hogan and Flair were feuding.

What a difference a week makes….

This week’s iMPACT was about answering the questions on how the events of Bound for Glory all came together.  To be honest, the show was a little light on wrestling matches.  That is typically not good for a wrestling program.  However, in this instance, I think it made sense.

If you have not heard by now, at Bound for Glory Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett revealed themselves as they.  This had been rumored.  What was shocking was that Jeff Hardy did too.  On iMPACT, we found out why.

In the days following Bound for Glory I read many critiques, mostly negative on the plot twist.  It is too soon to know whether the gamble of turning Jeff Hardy heel will be a wise one.  However, I disagree with a lot of what I have been reading this week.  They center around the three criticism below.

TNA should not be rehashing old scripts.  This is a rerun of WCW Bash at the Beach when Hogan joined Hall and Nash to form the nWo.

Sure.  Probably it is…..and why is this a bad thing?  Somewhere along the line a myth was formed that story lines in other organizations were constantly unique.  This is just not realistic.  In fact, the “faction movement” is alive and well up in Connecticut these days too, is it not?

The creation and evolution of the nWo was one of the most successful story lines in wrestling history.  Why not try to recreate it?  There is certainly a risk factor to trying to recreate a story line, which was that successful.  If you try and fail, the down side is much larger than if you fail to get buzz behind a unique angle.  However, the upside for this is quite high.

TNA pulled off the unexpected and in doing so they created an interest in their show that I haven’t be aware of since I’ve been watching them.  Now let’s see if they can capitalize.

TNA should have never turned Jeff Hardy.  He has never been a heel.

If you watched iMPACT this week I think we can put to rest the doubt that Hardy can play a heel.  The concern I had read was that he wasn’t a strong mic man.  About half way through this you get a sample.  I grant you this was likely recorded, which is different than live, but as you saw in the previous clip I included, he works much the same when live.

Now, Hardy is a different type of heel, no doubt.  Then again, he was a different type of face.  Thus far, Hardy appears more the creepy, deranged heel than the styling, boisterous heel – more Undertaker, than Scott Hall.

There is certainly a big difference between being a successful heel for a night versus a sustained run.  However, Hardy is off to a good start and deserves a shot.

TNA should have never turned Jeff Hardy.  He is the biggest name they have on the roster.

Setting aside Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, because they’re not really on the wrestling roster, Jeff Hardy probably is the biggest name in TNA.  Why can’t that person turn heel?  A good twist brings about intrigue and very few, if anyone expected this.

I understand the rationale for this argument.  The biggest name in your organization needs to draw fans and you want to send the people home happy.  I’d agree with this philosophy, if TNA made the bulk of its money from its live audience.  They don’t.  TV is what is most important.

To make good TV, you need people to tune in and want to see what happens next.  When you surprise them, they want more.  Let’s just be honest here.  The formula for successful wrestling programming is not all that different from the formula for TV drama.  Some have called wrestling a “soap opera for men.”  There’s probably some truth to that, whether we care to admit it or not.  What makes for good drama?  The unexpected.

I do have to give some credence to this critique, in that you need to have solid face guys or you risk the fans simply cheering the heels.  To a certain extent you saw this in WCW with the nWo.  However, Jeff Hardy, meet Rob Van Dam.  If you are a regular viewer, you know that the crowds love RVD.  As long as TNA has guys like RVD, the Pope, Kurt Angle and Sting opposite of Hardy, I don’t think you run this risk.

Bottom line, I have begged for TNA creative to shake things up a bit.  They have certainly done that and it appears to be paying short term dividends.  A friend forwarded me a review from a prominent member of the rival organization who admitted this was only the second time he had checked out and iMPACT.  Something made him tune in and I doubt if was jwoww.

Will this work out for them over the long term?  It’s fair to say that is unknown until we’ve had some time to see how it develops.  What is not fair is to declare the move a disaster while ignoring the short interest it has generated and not allowing for the angle to be developed over a longer period of time.

That said, I realize I’ve likely offended the TNA haters out there by pointing out the flaws in their criticism.  To make up for it, I give you one more clip from Thursday night.  Do yourself a favor and skip to about the 2.30 mark.

There, now we can be friends again.

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